IntroductionThe question is, “To be or not to be.” The answer to that question should be, “to be.” In order “to be,” a healthy environment is mandatory. Taking a look around today, it seems painfully obvious why there is really no other way “to be” but “green.”
There is a litany of reasons why it is important to take care of the environment. All living creatures depend on the environment for nutrients, water, oxygen or other life-sustaining components and protection from extreme conditions such as excessive heat. When the environment is unable to provide this protection, it can result in longstanding health problems or even fatal issues. For example, there has been a rise in certain cancers that is suspected to be a result of an increase in the number and concentration of pollutants (Eden, 2009).
Pollutants come in and from many forms — smog from factories, car exhaust, air conditioning units, certain types of drilling techniques used to uncover submerged oil, pesticides and non biodegradable waste products such as Styrofoam (Jain, 2012). In addition to being dangerous for the overall environment and the ecosystems it supports, unhealthy chemicals can leak into water or food supply ultimately contaminating the supplies and making them unfit for future consumption.
Unfortunately even the causes mentioned here are not nearly exhaustive of all the potential hazards of environmentally, damaging pollution. It is a problem that must be addressed and is often best addressed with creative solutions such as “going green,” a grassroots movement that calls for every person to implement practices of living more closely in symbiosis with the needs of his/her environment. For “going green” to work best, it should be adopted by even large businesses and other institutions that have the ability to make the biggest impact in the conservation of resources as a whole.
While most experts agree that it is better to exercise environmentally friendly practices as often as possible, there is disagreement about which methods might best save the environment. Experts even disagree about the current extent of the problem, some suggesting that considerations such as global warming are naturally occurring phenomenon while others argue that humans, and more specifically manmade pollutants, are entirely responsible for the modern day degradation of the ozone layer (Jameson, 2010). This vast difference of opinions has made it difficult to proceed with one combined effort to protect the environment. This is especially true when considering how communities view environmental efforts. There are very few cultures in the world, in fact, that demonstrate a true understanding of the problems at hand and even fewer that have made any mentionable change in the way they manage their countries’ environment (Jain, 2012). This is a reality that must be addressed head on before proceeding with any attempts to ‘go green.” It is a movement that relies indefinitely on its members.
It is important to remember that for one to encourage others to get on board with “going green,” people must first be convinced that human beings are in fact part of the problem in the first place. In doing so, one can begin to accept that being part of the problem means human beings can effectively monitor their behavior to help reduce or reverse the modern day problems of pollution. Essentially, because humans are largely responsible or polluting the planet, they must also take responsibility for protecting it from any further damage. While this may sometimes be an uphill battle that is not to say that the environment may never win out (Jain, 2012).
One of the more effective strategies for managing modern day ecological concerns is to raise awareness and encourage participation in the basic day-to-day practices that can be modified to become more environmentally friendly with the idea that if every person takes even small steps to benefit the environment the cumulative effect is immeasurable. Some examples of “going green” include: recycling, riding a bicycle to work, buying food locally or growing one’s own food.
While it may not seem that small changes can make a dent in such a pervasive problem as global warming, for example, this is not the case. In fact, many articles have cited that if people were to reduce their carbon footprints by just a small amount it would result in halting the deterioration of the ozone layer to which most experts attribute global warming (Eden, 2009). There are many reasons why “going green” is beneficial both on a personal and global schema including, its ability to make the world a less harmful place quickly, its cost effectiveness and its ability to make growing needs of the population more sustainable for the long term.
There are immediate effects of pollution that are harming our world today. Changes that support green living have the potential to immediately benefit the public. There is no reason not to begin “going green” immediately because there is little harm to developing better habits early and often. There is only detriment to not adapting to these practices (Zhou, 2014). It is only possible for people to know where their food and other belongings are coming from when they are sustainable. “Going green” makes a person more aware of how many materials they consume as one person and what those materials are made from. A person who lives for the environment knows that the food and water they consume is safe from chemicals. In addition, they know they are helping others they care about consume safe food and drink.
Summary and Refutation
As with all proposals, there are downsides. It can be time consuming and costly to change the current system globally, professionally and individually. But, ultimately, there is the potential for companies and individuals to save more money by engaging in these better practices. For example, installing solar panels on a home can be very expensive upfront but can ultimately save the homeowner thousands of dollars a year in his/her energy costs. Recycling materials cuts down on waste and can save money in generating new materials (Zhou, 2014). Also, a large part of going green is purchasing local food and other items, which cuts down on the cost of transporting said items and also makes them less susceptible to damage from traveling far distances and reduces the carbon footprint consisting of car pollutions. In consideration of local food items, this may be extremely important because food can spoil if it is not properly protected during the transportation process.
When it comes to going green, human beings may ultimately have no choice. The way human beings currently live is not sustainable, that is we will not be able to live for many more generations if practices are not changed in some way on a major scale. There is not enough land to support the growing population already and this become even more problematic as natural resources die out. Healthy land is essentially the most important factor in successful agriculture. Without changing current trends that damage the land there is no way that there will be enough soil to feed coming generations. In addition, resources such as oil are also finite. There is not enough oil to continue on with current energy needs, which are ever growing despite people who may preach to the contrary. In fact, some professionals estimate that oil will become so expensive to mine that it will no longer be an effective means of fuel within the next fifty years (Zhou, 2014). It is important to the longevity of our world and race that change is made quickly and effectively and it may also be the best way or possibly the only way to ensure the continuation of life with some resemblance to what we know today.
Life is slowly deteriorating in the world today. This problem is one that affects every living person not just those animals, plants, forests and oceans that receive the direct hit from pollution, deforestation and other exploitations. Instead, it touches one’s friends, families and children because it is an issue that is all around us each and every moment of each and every day. Every person must take responsibility for their own actions for the good of themselves and of others. If this is not done with immediacy the world we live in will be almost unrecognizable to our children and grandchildren. No longer will there be ice caps to marvel over or forests to feel lost inside. More and more animals will go extinct and be lost forever to the earth. If we do not change for it, it will surely change against us.
- Eden, S. “Environmental Solutions.” Environment and Planning, 41 (2009): 2037-40. Print.
- Jain, Uday. “Cultural Construction of Environmental Problems,” Social and Behavioral Sciences, 68 (2012), retrieved on: June 21, 2015 from JSTOR.
- Jameson, David L. “Solutions to Environmental Problems,” AAAS Symposium (2010).
- Zhou, Li. “Environmental Pollution: The Essence and Solution.” Low Carbon Economy 5.2 (2014), retrieved on June 21, 2015 from Science Direct.